First United Methodist Church Cemetery 1866-1939

fumc-cemetery-gate-005-a      The First United Methodist Church Cemetery located at 211 Porter Street, Center, Texas in Shelby County is one of the oldest cemeteries in Shelby County located in the Nancy Smith survey on land deeded by Judge M.W. Wheeler and Sam Samford “who deeded the land to his beloved church and burying ground for generations to come.”  The First Methodist Episcopal Church South was organized during the early part of the year 1866 soon after the town of Center was established.  The first church and Sam Samford Masonic Lodge #149 building was located on the North side of the cemetery. The top floor was used by the lodge and the ground floor was a meeting place for the church and Sunday School.

     There are many historically significant Center and Shelby County citizens buried in the First United Methodist fumc-cemetery-elkanah-samford-wtp-july-2015-issue-002-bw2bChurch Cemetery, including Elkanah Samford, first Worshipful Master of the Sam Samford Masonic Lodge #149 and his wife, Davila Adaline Samford; Rev. James R. Burke, early Methodist minister; Shelby County Civil War veterans and wives; and R. L. Parker, considered the Father of Center, responsible for relocating the county seat from Shelbyville to Center.  There are approximately 107 graves dating from 1861 to 1939.  The earliest marked burial on this site is an infant in 1861 before the property was designated as a cemetery.  The last burial was Pollie Brogden Amason in 1939.

   fumc-cemetery-rl-parker-021-a  In the late 1980s, the Runnels Chapel Sunday School class received a sizeable donation designated only to be used for cemetery ground improvements.  At that time, Nell Polley and her committee diligently worked on the project.  At the beginning, cemetery ground improvements included installing a black chain link fence surrounding the cemetery, planting azaleas, crepe myrtles, roses and other shrubs, outlining flower beds with border bricks and flagstone connecting walkways within the interior of the cemetery, installing a sprinkler system and placing several benches and tables.  For many years, the cemetery project work was completed under guidance of Nell Polly and currently Suzanne Ihlo continues the care of the cemetery.  In the fall of 2015, the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Shelby Beautiful Clean Committee presented a Community Beautification Award to the First United Methodist Church for their fumc-cemetery-angel-012-aconstant care and efforts for beautification to the community and being mindful to the preservation of the historical value of the cemetery.  In July 2015, an application was submitted to the Texas Historical State Cemetery for a historical marker.  Presently, the church is currently waiting for a reply.

     The cemetery is owned by the First United Methodist Church and church Trustees of maintain the historical site.

~ Suzanne Ihlo, FUMC Historian



Methodist Cemetery, M.E.

Center, Shelby County, Texas


Transcribed by Leonard Irish & Ray Jackson on April 24, 1999. 

Methodist Cemetery is located in Downtown Center, Texas, behind the First Methodist Church, at 211 North Porter Street.  The Cemetery is one of the oldest in the county and the most recent grave marking is Pollie Holt, 1939.

Name Birth Death Notes
Christina Amason 10/23/1882 10/21/1897 Dau of H. & Polly Amason
H. Amason 12/23/1839 08/06/1907 1st Husb of Pollie Amason
Pollie Amason 1862 1939 From Shelby County Civil War -Wife Hiram Amason
Fannie Armstrong 01/23/1862 09/21/1890 Wife of W. B. Armstrong
Fannie Armstrong 10/25/1893 11/25/1893 Infant of William & Emma Armstrong
Obie H. Armstrong 06/15/1889 10/24/1924
Infant Son of C.C. & Novie Barbe 12/06/1900 12/06/1900
John Marion Bell 01/13/1855 08/05/1890
Lela E. Bell 1883 01/02/1888 Dau of J. M. & Pinse Bell
A. W. Brown 12/06/1876 05/24/1878
A. W. Brown 03/29/1843 12/07/1881
Ella M. Brown 01/28/1874 03/22/1882
Rev. J. R. Burk 05/25/1821 08/11/1869
Infant Dau of S. & Kate Cannon 10/12/1899 02/14/1900
Sexton W. Caraway 05/24/1884 01/05/1899 Son Mrs. E. F. Sanders
David Terrell Carnahan 12/02/1876 03/31/1878 Son of Mr. & Mrs. E. F. Carnahan
Bertie Cartwright 04/10/1849 01/09/1899 Wife of Matthew Cartwright
Matthew Cartwright 05/14/1847 09/18/1921 Marker also in Fairview Cemetery
A. R. Chandler 05/30/1834 05/13/1913
Bishop Chandler 08/04/1873 08/13/1913
Emma C. Chandler 09/16/1843 03/18/1872 Wife of A. R. Chandler
Jarrel B. Chandler 12/30/1860 01/22/1861 Son of A. R. & S. E. Chandler
Mary J. Chandler 1805 06/01/1888
Sallie Chandler 1847 10/21/1905 Wife of A. R. Chandler
Walter Chandler ? 06/25/1827 Son of A. R. & S. e. Chandler
D. M. Collins 08/18/1847 04/12/1895
Ina F. Crawford 11/16/1892 09/29/1894 Dau of J. L. & Bobbie Crawford
M. M. Crawford 02/22/1857 02/2/1890 Wife of Joseph L. Crawford
Mac Crawford 06/01/1883 02/22/1887 Son of J. L. & M. M. Crawford
Bonneau Crouch 11/14/11900 09/07/1901 Son of W. B. & E. B. Crouch
Infant of R. F. M.W. Davis ???? ????
William Frederick Davis 05/04/1882 07/30/1896
Clarence Druner 01/04/1881 07/25/1881
Charles B. Duke 03/05/1884 06/28/1884
Dr. William Jack Duke 07/12/1836 11/05/1891 From Shelby County Civil War
Mary R. Ellington 09/04/1825 10/14/1881
Milton J. Ellington 11/10/1822 07/22/1870
Ed Freeman 10/02/1865 03/16/1902
Irene Freeman 10/14/1872 01/14/1898
Lela L. Gilchrist 03/08/1886 07/01/1887 Dau of J.C. & N.E. Gilchrist
Twin Infant of J.C. &N.E. Gilchrist 02/12/1885 02/16/1885
June Casey Harkness 11/05/1855 09/28/1871
Infant Son of N. D. & Ellen Hathorn 01/05/1893 01/05/1893
Noel D. Hathorn 09/02/1852 12/01/1895
Annie E. Hicks 01/17/1827 04/02/1893 Wife of C. W. Hicks
C. W. Hicks 12/31/1817 11/02/1904
Don Hicks 10/17/1866 06/01/1898
Infant Sons of Don & Tempe Hicks 10/27/1898 10/27/1898
Laurie Hicks ???? ????
Lawrence Hicks 11/02/1889 10/18/1895
Lois Hicks 04/01/1880 10/20/1880 Dau of ?????
John Nelson Holt ca 1820 ca 1897 From Shelby County in Civil War
Pollie Holt 1860 1939
George Norris Hyams 03/25/1899 07/20/1900
Robert Jenkins 12/25/1860 07/30/1871
W. T. Jenkins 07/06/1867 ??/09/1880
Norfleet Jerrell 04/05/1872 07/22/1872 Son of P. H. & L. J. Jerrell
Alex Robertson Leslie 06/03/1829 03/10/1882
Alden Leslie Age 34 06/04/1905 Twin of John Leslie
Hugh Leslie 10/29/1857 04/07/1884
Martha Leslie 11/27/1833 10/27/1911 Wife of A. R. Leslie
Mattie F. Lester 12/22/1876 05/20/1895 Dau of W. J. & Euginie Lester
Wm. J. Lester 04/19/1845 11/25/1899
J. M. Lucky 01/22/1834 08/04/1892
Mattie E. Lucky 04/08/1842 12/06/1889
Ole Martin 04/25/1875 01/08/1876 Son of T. J. & Sallie Martin
Dr. H. H. Maxwell 02/14/1830 07/12/1898
Baby Myrna McKnight 02/04/1899 01/15/1900 Dau of Carl & Bettie McKnight
Patrick H. McLaughlin 1828-Ireland 05/??/1916 From Shelby County Civil War
William & John McLaughlin No Dates Age 22 & Age 17 Sons of P. H. & E. C. McLaughlin
Pearl Gladys Mills 09/03/1892 03/03/1897 Dau of J. W. & Ophelia Mills
Corine Oliver 07/03/1870 01/25/1899 Wife of J. C. Oliver
M. Fannie Oliver 09/22/1847 10/01/1883 Dau of Thomas & Martha Oliver
Martha A. Oliver 10/16/1823 10/17/1880 Wife of Thomas A. Oliver
Martha M. Oliver 03/09/1860 09/11/1875 Dau of John & Eliza Olive
Mattie Oliver 07/28/1902 06/19/1904 Dau of L. C. & Clifford Oliver
Ophelia M. Oliver 09/20/1851 07/22/1892
Annie Owens 12/03/1870 08/23/1878
R. L. Parker 03/10/1830 05/10/1916
Edward Seymore Parker 09/01/1900 10/25/1901 Son of L. E. & Lizzie Parker
Matt C. Parker 12/05/1861 02/01/1871 Son of R. L. & Sallie Parker
Mrs. S. A. Parker 04/30/1834 05/09/1887
Sallie A. Parker 04/30/1834 05/09/1887 Wife of R. L. Parker
Mary E. Mayfield Paxton 07/25/1863 04/02/1879 Wife of John J. Paxton
Jarrell M. Pleasant 09/09/1887 10/18/1888
Lena Pearle Polley 07/17/1889 02/26/1900 Dau of Mr.& Mrs. J. T. Polley
Louis C. Rains 03/06/1871 04/22/1899 Son of G. B. & M.E. Rains
Arlie Francis Roberts 02/29/18901 1890
Charlie Frances Roberts 10/29/1880 11/11/1880 Dau of C. F. & N. E. Roberts
Mrs. Sarah Rushing 1830 1877
Davila Adaline Samford 1829 01/11/1910
Elkanah Samford 10/31/1808 07/30/1888
John N. M. Samford 09/13/1851 11/26/1883 Son of E. & Sarah Samford
Lavina J. Samford 03/26/1850 01/03/1879 Dau of W. A. & Sarah Samford
Mary Samford 02/12/1846 09/20/1886 Wife of T. C. Samford
Sallie L. Sanders 02/05/1853 12/12/1877 Dau of Robert & M. L. Sanders
James Sample Singletary 09/29/1852 12/08/1896
James C. Soape 02/11/1835 02/11/1900
Katie E. Soape 04/15/1860 11/11/1872 Dau of J.C. & S. C. Soape
Sarah Tippett Soape 04/12/1832 11/29/1888 Wife of J. C. Soape
Albert L. Stephens 1837 1869
John C. Stephens 1796 SC ca 1883 From Shelby County Civil War Wife Nancy
Lacy Nea Truitt 11/20/1884 Son of J. M. Truitt
Elijah Webb Marker Worn
Hallie Webb 07/10/1886 12/30/1892 Dau of Alfred & Belle Webb
Meridith B. Webb 01/12/1879 09/20/1879 Son of Alfred & Belle Webb
Rebecca Webb 04/07/1828 08/27/1870 Wife of Meridith Webb
Bobbie Wheeler 01/22/1881 03/15/1884 Son of E. B. & A. E. Wheeler